Plans with 2-19 employees can qualify for 18 months. Article 53 of Chapter 58 of North Carolina General Statutes.
North Carolina General Statutes § 58-53-5 Continuation
A group policy delivered or issued for delivery in this State that insures employees or members for hospital, surgical or major medical insurance on an expense incurred or service basis under this Chapter, other than for specific diseases or for accidental injuries only, shall provide that employees or members whose coverage under the group policy would otherwise terminate because of termination of active employment or membership, or termination of membership in the eligible class or classes under the policy, shall be entitled to continue their hospital, surgical, and medical insurance under that group policy, for themselves and their eligible spouses and dependents with respect to whom they were insured on the date of termination, subject to all of the group policy's terms and conditions and to the conditions specified in this Part. Provided, the terms and conditions set forth in this Part are intended as minimum requirements and shall not be construed to impose additional or different requirements upon those group hospital, surgical, or major medical plans that provide continuation benefits equal to or better than those required in this Part. (1981, c. 706, s. 1; 1997‑259, s. 11.)
North Carolina General Statutes § 58-53-10 Eligibility
Continuation shall only be available to an employee or member who has been continuously insured under the group policy, or for similar benefits under any other group policy that it replaced, during the period of three consecutive months immediately before the date of termination. The employee or member may elect continuation for a period of not fewer than 60 days after the date of termination or loss of eligibility. The employee or member shall make the first contribution upon the election to continue coverage, and the coverage shall be retroactive to the date of termination or loss of eligibility. (1981, c. 706, s. 1; 2001‑334, s. 7.1.)
North Carolina General Statutes § 58-53-15 Exception
Continuation shall not be available for any person who is or could be covered by any other arrangement of hospital, surgical, or medical coverage for individuals in a group, whether insured or uninsured, within 31 days immediately following the date of termination; or whose insurance terminated because he failed to pay any required contribution for the insurance. (1981, c. 706, s. 1.)
Statutes § 58-53-20 Benefits not included
Continuation is not required to include dental, vision care, or prescription drug benefits, or any other benefits provided under the group policy in addition to its hospital, surgical, or major medical benefits. (1981, c. 706, s. 1.)
Statutes § 58-53-25 Notification to employee
In addition to the notification requirement set forth in G.S. 58‑53‑40, notification may be included on insurance identification cards or may be given by the employer, orally or in writing as a part of the exit process from the employment. (1981, c. 706, s. 1.)
Statutes § 58-53-30 Payment of premiums
An employee or member electing continuation must pay to the group policyholder or his employer, in advance, the amount of contribution required by the policyholder or employer, but not more than one hundred two percent (102%) of the full group rate for the insurance applicable under the group policy on the due date of each payment. The employee or member may not be required to pay the amount of the contribution less often than monthly. In order to be eligible for continuation of coverage, the employee or member must make a written election of continuation, on a form furnished by the group policyholder or by the insurer. (1981, c. 706, s. 1; 1999‑273, s. 1; 2001‑334, s. 7.2.)
Statutes § 58-53-35 Termination of continuation
(a) Continuation of insurance under the group policy for any person shall terminate on the earliest of the following dates:
(1) The date 18 months after the date the employee's or member's insurance under the policy would otherwise have terminated because of termination of employment or members;
(2) The date ending the period for which the employee or member last makes his required contribution, if he discontinues his contributions;
(3) The date the employee or member becomes or is eligible to become covered for similar benefits under any arrangement of coverage for individuals in a group, whether insured or uninsured;
(4) The date on which the group policy is terminated or, in the case of a multiple employer plan, the date his employer terminates participation under the group master policy. When this occurs the employee or member shall have the privilege described in G.S. 58‑53‑45 if the date of termination precedes that on which his actual continuation of insurance under that policy would have terminated. The insurer that insured the group before the date of termination shall make a converted policy available to the employee or member.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a)(4) of this section, if the employer replaces the group policy with another group policy, the employee is entitled to continue under the successor group policy for any unexpired period of continuation to which the employee is entitled. (1981, c. 706, s. 1; 1983, c. 142, s. 2; 1993, c. 529, s. 3.8; 1997‑259, s. 12.)
Statutes § 58-53-40 Notification
A notification of the continuation privilege shall be included in each individual certification of coverage. (1981, c. 706, s. 1.)
Statutes § 58-53-45 Right to obtain individual policy upon termination of group hospital, surgical or major medical coverage
A group policy delivered or issued for delivery in this State that insures employees or members for hospital, surgical, or medical insurance on an expense incurred or service basis under Articles 1 through 67 of this Chapter other than for specific diseases or for accidental injuries only, shall provide that an employee or member whose insurance under the group policy has been terminated shall be entitled to have a converted policy issued to him by the insurer under whose group policy he was last insured, without evidence of insurability, subject to the terms and conditions specified in this Part. Provided, the terms and conditions set forth in this Part are intended as minimum requirements and shall not be construed to impose additional or different requirements upon those group hospital, surgical, or major medical plans already in force, or hereafter placed into effect, that provide conversion benefits equal to or better than those required in this Part. (1981, c. 706, s. 1.)
Statutes § 58-53-50 Restrictions
A converted policy shall not be available to an employee or member if termination of his insurance under the group policy occurred because:
(1) Of termination of employment or membership and either he was not entitled to continuation of group coverage under Part 1 of this Article or failed to elect such continuation;
(2) He failed to make timely payment of any required contribution for the cost of continuation of insurance;
(3) He had not been continuously covered under the group policy or for similar benefits under any other group policy that it replaced during the period of three consecutive months immediately prior to termination of active employment ending with such termination;
(4) The group policy terminated or an employer's participation terminated, and the insurance is replaced by similar coverage under another group policy within 31 days of date of termination; or
(5) He failed to continue his insurance for the entire maximum period of 18 months following termination of active employment as provided for in Part 1 of this Article, unless that failure to continue was because of change of insurer by the employer and the change of insurer was consummated during the one year continuation period. In that event the employee or member shall be entitled to be issued a converted policy by the insurer that provided the group policy to the employer before the change of insurer. (1981, c. 706, s. 1; 1983, c. 142, s. 3; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 569, s. 9; 1997‑259, s. 13.)
Statutes § 58-53-55 Time limit
In order to be eligible for conversion, written application and the first premium payment for the converted policy must be made to the insurer not later than 31 days after the date of termination of insurance provided under Part 1 of this Article. The effective date of the converted policy shall be the day following the later of:
(1) The termination of insurance under the group policy when it is not replaced by one providing similar coverage within 31 days of the termination date of the immediately prior group plan; or
(2) The termination of the period of continued coverage under the group policy or policies. (1981, c. 706, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 569, s. 10; 1997‑259, s. 14.)
No Mini Cobra Coverage
47 of the 50 U.S. states have COBRA laws that cover smaller employers, generally called state mini-cobra laws. States that have not passed a mini-cobra law include Alabama, Alaska, and Delaware.
Among States that have mini-cobra laws, the lengths of coverage vary from 30 days to 36 months. Please refer to our Mini State COBRA Law Directory.
Written by Craig J. Casey
Craig Casey is an Writer, Coach, Blogger, Husband, and Former Health Insurance Agent helping people on the web since 1999 with their health insurance problems.
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